Odion Ighalo: Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises striker after first goal for club

Ole Gunnar Solskjer praised Odion Ighalo as a “natural striker” after he scored his first Man Utd goal in Thursday’s resounding Europa League victory,

The United manager handed Ighalo his first start against Club Brugge following his Deadline Day move, and the Nigeria international slotted home in the 34th minute to register his first goal for the club in a 5-0 win.

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Solskjaer was impressed by the striker’s performance, saying: “Odion was up front there doing what he does. He’s a target man, we can play up to him, he can hold it and he’s got Bruno (Fernandes) and Juan (Mata) next to him so he’s got runners there.

“As a fellow striker myself, I know how important that first goal is. He has been close a couple of times, you can see he sniffs goals, he wants to be there where it sometimes hurts but with that goal as well, he is sharp in his head.

“As the ball is played over to Juan, he spins and is on the six-yard line when Juan puts it there. That’s a natural striker.”

Fred also scored twice during the Old Trafford rout – tripling his scoring tally from one to three United goals – and Solskjaer revealed the pair have jokingly discussed the Brazilian’s lack of goals.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be alive the next time he was going to score a goal because he’s had so many attempts,” said Solskjaer with a smile.

“But one with his right, one with his left. It’s been an ongoing joke between us of course, but he got that goal and I’m very pleased for him.

“[The performance] is a combination between many things, I think. They’ve let their shoulders down and gone out to express and enjoy themselves.

“Bruno coming in obviously makes a big difference, you can see he has a hand in the first three goals and what a goal Odion’s was so really happy with the contribution.


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“I’m very happy tonight. We’re in this moment now where we need to rotate a bit, players are getting games, but when you score goals and play like this, you’re going to get more confidence.

“It was brilliant to see the start of the game, I thought they had the right intent, created loads of chances and when they went down to 10 men [after Simon Deli’s sending off], the game was more or less over.”

Clement unhappy with refereeing decisions

Brugge boss Philippe Clement felt his team were hard done by with refereeing decisions over the two games, citing a possible penalty for an early challenge by Harry Maguire on David Okereke.

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